Trailside Organic Farm – August 2022 Update
Written by Ian Frederick, Farm Manager
We love flowers at the Trailside Organic Farm!
We are growing a variety of colorful annuals all around the farm. Their most apparent job is to add beauty to our farmscape. However, there are also some practical and ecological reasons for planting flowers around the farm:
-Flowers provide forage and habitat for native wildlife, such as bees and birds.
-Planting flowers near vegetable crops can bring more pollinators to production fields. This type of strategic planting has the potential to increase crop pollination. We mixed flowers into our vegetable beds to attract pollinators to the area. This way, they will pollinate the flowers and our crops. There are so many pollinators around our farm right now! Butterflies, bees, hover flies and hummingbirds have been spotted on the farm.
-Some flower species attract beneficial predatory insects which control pest insect populations. For example, flowers can provide habitat for ladybugs, who love to eat aphids! We have Sweet Alyssum planted all around the farm for this reason. This is an example of an integrated pest management (IPM) measure.
-Flower bouquets make an awesome farm product! Our flowers are on display around Cornwall Manor, and some bouquets are available at our farm markets.
The following are some annual varieties which are ideal for bouquets and bugs:
The following are some annual insect favorites, which also look beautiful in the landscape:
Although we are focusing on annual flowers this year, we also plan to integrate perennial flowers and shrubs around the farmscape. We would like to extend a special thank you to Katherine Gehris, who is working to establish some native perennials along the farm’s fence line.